Join Michael's March to Trample Cancer One Step at a Time
In 2010, our son Michael was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at only 2 years old. Without question, it was the worst time of our lives, but the remarkable doctors, nurses and staff at the Morristown Valerie Fund Children’s Center saved our child and got us through his battle, both physically and emotionally.
We are walking and running to raise donations for The Valerie Fund again this year because Michael will need to visit one of their centers for the rest of his life. They have seven exceptional cancer centers for children in the tri-state area so kids can receive treatment close to home and families can stay together. The Valerie Fund now treats over 6K childhood cancer and blood disorder patients each year, during 25K hospital visits. Sadly, that number has grown from 4K patients when we started walking just 6 year ago. We would appreciate your help in reaching Michael's goal this year. Every donation, no matter the amount is sincerely appreciated! THANK YOU!!
We are extremely thankful that these superb children’s cancer centers are close to home. Within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital, the Valerie Fund doctors gave us an accurate diagnosis, a plan to combat the cancer and Michael had his first dose of chemotherapy. They saved his life!
Within 1 month, he was in complete remission. For 3 ½ years, we traveled to a Valerie Fund location for his treatments and, on March 15, 2013, Michael took his last dose of chemotherapy! Now, we are even more thrilled to say that Michael has been in remission for nearly 8 years and he has been off chemo for nearly 5 years!! He is currently in their Survivorship program and just celebrated 3000 days in Remission!! (Knock on wood!)
Since there are Valerie Fund Children’s Centers nearby, our family was able to stay together throughout his entire treatment. He was able to get his chemo, come home to play with his sisters and get tucked into his own bed with good night kisses--from *both of his parents.* We are still able to go to all the follow-ups with oncologists and specialists without too much interruption to elementary school and his activities.
The Valerie Fund’s nurses care for him like we would, if we could. Their Child Life Specialists distract him and all the other kids while we wait for tests and during awful treatments. Their Social Workers still care for our emotional well-being. Their Educational Liaison helped Michael transition safely into school and will ensure that his educational needs are met through college. And, the onsite Neuro-psychologist checks to see that his cognitive functions are where they should be.
Beyond what they do for us, they do so much more for others: Financial Counseling to ensure that treatment costs can be managed; Integrated medicine and holistic treatments to help when drugs cannot; Palliative care to manage the symptoms and side effects of the illness and the treatment; Transportation services to get patients to the hospital when they otherwise couldn’t; Camp Happy Times to keep creating childhood memories despite treatment; Scholarships to help patients pursue higher education; Flashes of Hope to capture the moments; a Mom hotline to help them cope; and, a Grief Support Program when all hope is lost.
Today, Michael is a happy and healthy 10 year-old with a terrific outlook, but, our journey is very far from over. Michael will be treated by an oncologist at a Valerie Fund Center for the rest of his life. We have been incredibly lucky so far, but they need to check for lasting side effects, and to make sure that he doesn’t relapse or develop a secondary cancer. We try to focus on the happy news, but the reality is that we need the Valerie Centers around forever--for Michael and all the other kids fighting cancers and blood disorders. So, we walk (or run) and we invite you to join us.
This year’s Valerie Fund Walk/5K will be on Saturday, June 9th in Verona Park, Verona, NJ. As always, our team is called “Michael’s March” to show Michael how proud we are of him and to celebrate when he finished treatment. Following the 5K run and during the walk, there will be a fun-filled event with a variety of free food, music and kid-friendly amusements (bounce houses, character visits, face painting, etc.). If you can’t make it, please help us keep Valerie Fund centers local by supporting Michael’s team and this terrific non-profit with a completely tax-deductible donation for this wonderful, worthy cause !
We are truly overwhelmed by the love and support. Thank you for caring about Michael. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
Jodi & Matt Savare